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Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

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Baraboo, WI
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Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

I'm planning a trip to St. John in Feb/March time frame of this year. I'm trying to figure out how long I want to stay on St. John and if I want to move part way through my trip to a second island to experience more of the area. I've never been to the Caribbean before and am thinking of anywhere between a 7-10 night stay.

I was debating on 5-7 nights in St. John and 2-3 on a second island (Tortola, St. Croix, or Virgin Gorda possibly). Or just 7 nights in St. John with maybe a day trip somewhere else. I want quiet peaceful nature based vacation, not busy city life.

Things that I'm taking into consideration are budget (don't have unlimited funds but figured it's cheaper to see a second island while I'm here than to fly back later). I'm sure I'll be back at some point to check out other areas of the Caribbean but I don't tend to be a traveler that goes back to someplace I've been more than once since there's so many new places to go. So this is potentially a way for me to hit 2 of the islands in the area. I could picture myself doing a future vacation just to Virgin Gorda so I was thinking I might be better to go to a different island than that if it was just for 2 days or so.

I want to relax and slow down but also know that I love to explore new places and see new things. I don't know, what would you do?

Tomball, Texas
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1. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

I would stay seven nights on St. John, with a day trip. We just got back from four nights, and it wasn't nearly enough, and we didn't take any day trips. I never had time to explore the south beaches, or take any hikes. There were a few north shore beaches we never hit either.

It's a small island, but there's a lot to see.

Pa.
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2. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

We are also the type of people that like to go to a different spot each time for vacation… Made three trips to St. John in a year and a half. We just love it there. I'm afraid if you go, your rules might have to change, you might get hooked! We did one trip for four days after having been there for a week, thinking it would be enough, and it wasn't. Our last trip was another full seven days, and we still need to go back. I think spending all your time on St. John with one or two day trips would be the way to go, then you could get the feel if you want to go spend time on some of those other islands for a future trip. Anyway you decide, have a wonderful time!

St. John
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3. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

I would say stay 10 days on St. John and do a day trip to the BVI. Despite St. John's small size, there is surprisingly a lot to explore. And I too think your one trip per place rule might change once you see St. John :) Rent a vehicle, it really opens up your exploring options and you can do it at your own pace. Taxis can get expensive and they are not often easily available to some of the more remote spots. There are a couple of books you can get that will help you get excited about your St. John visit and give you tons of info on what there is to do here. You can purchase them from one of our on island businesses, St. John Spice. The two that people seem to find the most helpful/useful are" Fins, Feet, and Four Wheel Drive" and "Off the Beaten Track" Here is the link to the St. John Spice book page on their website, …stjohnspice.com/categories/…

Whatever you decide, I hope you post a trip report after your trip! We all love to read a first timers experience :) Enjoy!

Pa.
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4. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

Also order the trail bandit map before you go. I believe it's Trailbandit.org and he will mail you a copy promptly

Baltimore, Maryland
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5. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

I would stay on STJ the whole time and do day trips. You say you want a quiet relaxing trip. Moving to another island will lose a day of travel and add stress. Day trips are much easier. You can take a ferry to Jost for the day, or a charter to the baths, etc. You said this Feb? High season means high villa prices and limited choices. Also, you need a jeep the entire time to really explore and those are booked early. Hate to say this but you need to book a place and car ASAP. Remember, very small island =limited places to stay and limited rental vehicles.

Falmouth...
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6. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

Agree with the suggestions to stay the whole time on SJ, say tripsIF you feel you need to go somewhere else. We've done the BVIs trip, which was a lot of fun, but we've also spent our full week without leaving the island and STILL wished we had more time. We know folks who went to Tortola for 3 days, and were disappointed. They like SJ so much more! And get moving! You want to do a trip in 1-2 months? A villa will be tough to find, and jeep rental VERY tough! We usually book 6-9 months in advance.

Baraboo, WI
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7. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

Thanks all for the info. It's been greatly helpful. I'm going to plan for at least 7 nights on St. John and maybe more if we decide to do day trips. Depending on what I can find for rentals. I've found several possibilities that I'll try to solidify tomorrow. I wasn't aware that jeep rentals would be a potential issue though so thanks for the heads up on that. I'm thinking that I may book a jeep on st Thomas and ferry it over to St. John. Let me know if you think there's a good reason to not do this. I'm hoping there may be more availability there than on SJ.

Boston
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8. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

I personally just think it would be a hassle, especially for your first trip and would try to rent on St John. If your car breaks down on the island, you can get it fixed, I have no idea what happens if you have to call a rental place on St Thomas.

Keep in mind that you will quickly be on island time and will slow yourself down considerably once you arrive which is one reason that people say don't bother to split up your time. You will enjoy the slow pace and won't want to be bothered repacking etc. You can get day ferries to the BVIs which ARE wonderful also. We are huge fans of Jost Van Dyke, and would highly recommend a full day there, over to both White Bay and Diamond Cay. Enjoy! We always said, we'd go once and then go other places and that was 7 trips ago...

Baraboo, WI
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9. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

Interesting thing is that I checked rental prices and so far it seems rental on St. John is cheaper than most of the St. Thomas jeep rentals anyway. I'm going to keep looking around. Just trying to solidify my options for places to stay on such short notice. Difficult to do. I'm currently leaning toward staying 7-10 days on St. John but it'll depend on what I can finally find for cost between a villa and flight dates. Thanks again for all the help and for confirming for me that I should stay on St. John. I'm convinced from all of you that I will love it!

Seaside Heights...
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10. Re: Itinerary help for first time in Carribbean

It would be most helpful if you could tell us a bit about what type of activities you like to do. Do you like to stay in hotels, B&Bs or camping? Do you like to hang on the beach or hike?

St. John is the home of the US Virgin Island National Park. It has over 20 miles of hiking trails. It also have a lot of historic, restored/recovered ruins from the sugar plantation time on the island.

Inside the park is also a campground (Cinnamon Bay) on a beach with tent and cottage type accommodations.

Do you want to rent a car? If you want to get all over St. John it is helpful or you will spend a lot on taxis.

I hope you enjoy your stay. We could be more helpful if we knew a bit more about what you are seeking.